a (short) passage to india :: Okan Arts
a (short) passage to india

a (short) passage to india

by guest blogger, David Owen Hastings

INDIA  I recently took a week-long trip to India. I can’t believe how many people asked, “You’re only going for a week?” but it’s true. I love international travel, but I also love being home, so a week it would be.

Next question friends asked, knowing that I love fabric: “Ooh, the fabric, will you be buying lots of fabric?” I surprised even myself with the answer to that one: no. But, I did visit some wonderful fabric shops, like this one:
Fabric Shop in India, by David Owen Hastings

The colors and textures were sumptuous and inspiring, but how could I choose just a bit of this and a bit of that? Instead, I used my camera to capture some of the wonderful colors and textures. I often use those photos as inspiration for my artwork and also for my quilting projects.
Fabric in India, by David Owen Hastings

Our India tour also visited a few wonderful carpet shops… I seemed to gravitate towards the rich red carpets, set off by black and cream. It may be somewhat of my sister-in-law’s influence: she’s Palestinian, and there is a tradition of that color palette in Palestinian rugs.
Handmade carpets in India, by David Owen Hastings

Yes, our trip included lots of wonderful shops, but the real reason I went was to see the Taj Mahal. Ever since I was a kid, I have been fascinated by this structure. It was incredible to see it in person, and the subtle colors of the marble made a big impression on me.
Taj Mahal by David Owen Hastings

I started photographing the marble mosaics that are in many of the monuments, temples and such in India. I especially gravitated toward the mosaics that were made of mostly white marble (which has a wonderful translucence to it) paired with natural hues. Some of these mosaics include semi-precious gemstones, but I tended to like the simpler, more gritty colors and textures.
Marble Tiles in India, by David Owen Hastings

It was amazing to me how quilt-like the marble mosaics were. These mosaics are hundreds of years old, but I wonder if they influenced the quilt makers of more recent times?
Marble Tiles, by David Owen Hastings

Thanks to my friend Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts, I’ve been reinvigorated to try my hand at quilting. It also helped that I purchased a good quilting machine, instead of trying to make my 60-year-old Singer work. Here are a few images of a small quilt I have in progress. I started this before the trip to India, but it’s funny how the color palette is similar to the mosaics I saw in India. Some of the fabric is commercially-produced batik, and some I hand printed by stamping and sponging on acrylic paint. I mixed the two kinds of fabric into strips. I almost think the back is as cool as the front! Next step: I’m appliquéing some simple bird motifs across the strips of subtle color.
Quilt project in process, by David Owen Hastings

I will post the finished quilt later this summer. For now, namasté!
David Owen Hastings in India

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2 comments to “a (short) passage to india”

  1. Such a talented brother! and photos that make me feel as if I had been along on the trip….can’t wait to see the finished quilt!

  2. Patricia Belyea says:

    David managed to squeeze in the writing of this post between selling his home, moving, setting up his new studio, and going to Germany tomorrow with the Seattle Men’s Choir. That’s also an amazing talent!